This was our second time hopping on the Disney Fantasy with Disney Cruise Line, but this time we went with a huge group of friends and family!
On our first cruise we went with my son and my parents, and this time around we all went again plus two other couples and my son’s friends – 6 kids in total!
We did a few things differently this time around, and I can’t wait to share a few tips and tricks with you in case you are considering a Disney Cruise Line adventure yourself!
They offer the lowest airfare or you fly FREE! If you find a flight with Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge at a lower price, they will pay for your flight!
They also have a guaranteed return flight – if the ship is late, they will book you on the next available flight home! In the unlikely event that a delayed flight causes you to miss your cruise, they will re-book you on the next available flight to catch up with it!
There is also no deposit required for flights, and all flights are 100% refundable up to 30 days prior to travel!
For more details on the Air Canada Vacations Cruise Promise, visit their website here!
Before I tell you more about our cruise, check out this video of our vacation!
Trust me – it was just as fun as it looked!
Before you book your cruise, there are a few things you need to do. Excursions!
First off, you don’t NEED to book any excursions if you don’t feel like leaving the ship. There were plenty of people who stayed on the boat our whole cruise, or some who just wandered around the ports we stopped at on their own. On our last cruise we purchased an excursion at every port, but this time we didn’t.
We chose to stay on the boat for our first stop in Tortola, and we chose to walk off the boat on our own for St. Thomas. We took advantage of the boat being quite a bit more empty with people leaving for their excursions on port days so we could spend more time on the AquaDuck and to take part in some of the fun daily activities. Leaving the port is often easy to do as taxi cabs line the dock, and there is a bit of touristy shopping awaiting the cruise ships that visit for the day.
We did a bit of shopping in St. Thomas, and we spend the rest of the day back on the boat.
The main excursion or pre-cruise booking we did was rent cabanas for the day on Castaway Cay. Cabanas are much sought after so they are difficult to reserve. Luckily my parents were at concierge level so they were able to book two cabanas for our group! Our best day of the cruise was on Castaway Cay, hands-down.
The night before you dock at Castaway Cay a little paper Cabana lands at your room, along with your wristbands for the next day.
Cabanas come equipped with granola bars, chips, soft drinks and water, towels, sand toys, water tubes, snorkel gear, bike rentals and a fabulous little doorbell that will have someone pop in to bring you anything else you need!
Cabanas are separated from the rest of the island. We had a private beach, and an amazing spot to relax and spend the day. We all agreed that this was the best way to spend the day on Castaway Cay! There are many things to see and do on the island including a few excursions, but we preferred to lay around all day in and around the cabana. Watching the kids was much easier since we had our own space, and we did walk over to Cookie’s BBQ for lunch, but otherwise we enjoyed the quiet. There was even a lifeguard stopping people from swimming over to our side of the beach!
We felt well taken care of, and this was a must-do for us when we cruise with Disney again.
As we did last time, we chose to take the Magical Express to the ship. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport again this time around because it’s just so easy – they have a great restaurant, and all we had to do the next morning was wake up and get on the ship! Taking the elevator down to the bottom level of the airport was as difficult as it got for us – it’s really a seamless process staying at this hotel. A Disney Cruise Line representative even had a table in the lobby of the hotel to answer any questions we might have. We received a letter in our room about what time we should arrive downstairs, although really whatever time you want to board you can get on the bus.
Arrival at the port is very seamless – we were on the ship in no time and ready to enjoy our vacation! One little snafu on my part – no drones allowed! Some cruise lines don’t mind as long as you don’t fly on their ship, but Disney does not allow drones at all on the cruise. Mine was flagged in my carry on and held until I returned to port. I picked it up when we got back with no issues at all.
This time around I had our room decorated with the Halloween on the High Seas theme. Prior to boarding your cruise you can choose decor for your room (for a fee), and I surprised the boys with a Halloween-themed pillow, blanket, and glow in the dark ghosts. It all came with a carrying bag as well. The quality was actually amazing – I still have the ghosts and reused them for a Halloween party, the blanket is SO nice and plus, and the pillow was great as well. It was a great keepsake!
The highlights of the room are the way the space is allocated – there are two washrooms – one with the toilet and a sink, the other with the shower/tub and another sink. The bed is high enough to store your luggage underneath, the children’s beds come out of the wall, and there are plenty of drawers and cabinets to use.
This time around we spent so much more time taking part in some of the scheduled activities you could find in the Navigator app. This app updated daily with things to do on the ship, and there was PLENTY! We made multiple crafts, we learned how to fold towels like an expert, we did a scavenger hunt on the ship, we went to a baking demonstration among other things!
Of course I have to mention the Oceaneer Club! It’s a huge part of your Disney Cruise experience. After scanning our child’s Magic Band at the entrance they are asked to wash their hands, and then they are free to play in spaces like Andy’s Room, Star Wars: Command Post, the Marvel Super Hero Academy, and Pixie Hollow. There are all kinds of classes run in this space for children aged 3-12, and it was a fun way for the kids to get away from their parents, and for us to get a break from the kids!
Both Bvlgari and Tiffany & Co. had parties with drinks and appetizers, and we paid to play Bingo in the theater, and watched Disney movies that were still running at the theatres at home.
This time around we also went to a few of the live shows. The kids loved them, and I loved the popcorn and wine that we could purchase on the way in! I also loved that the popcorn buckets were themed like they are in the park, with the discount for refills.
The Cove Café became my new hangout. They have the Ripple machine that could make all kinds of cute latte art, and – fun fact – all of the morning pastries and squares, and the afternoon charcuterie in the glass case at the café are free! The coffee prices weren’t bad either!
I went to the gym for the first few days, and they had flavored water and cool towels in a fridge for the guests. The smoothie bar in the gym looked great (and they even had champagne!) but I didn’t get the chance to try it.
We paid for something called Rainforest passes. The spa is full service, but there is a section called The Rainforest which has a few really cool amenities we loved. Prior to the cruise I called Disney Cruise Line to book a two day pass for my husband and I, but these passes are limited! You can also purchase them on-board, but because I knew they only sold a certain number I did this prior to cruising.
The Rainforest pass includes access to their saunas, hot tubs, warming chairs, and the Rainforest showers. Each shower had three different settings – once inside they would play sounds, the colours would change, and certain scents would be released. Even the temperature was different with each setting!
Getting away from the crowds and hanging out in this very zen-like place was amazing. I loved the hot tub, and there were amazing stations with flavored water and fresh towels – this place was awesome! We chose a two day pass, and you could go in and out throughout the day as you wished. The Rainforest passes aren’t well known, so I would recommend taking advantage and spending a day of your cruise enjoying it!
On the ship itself there were all kinds of features for kids and grown-ups alike! There was mini-putt, a basketball court, and all kinds of water features. There are two small pools on the main deck, a splash pool, an adult pool and there are a couple of different splash pads. There is a small water slide, and then the main attraction – the AquaDuck. This water ride actually goes up AND down – and it’s a lot of fun!
There is so much to stay about the food it’s hard to narrow down!
There are three restaurants on the ship – Animator’s Palate, Royal Court and Enchanted Garden – and your party rotates through each of them. This schedule is available in your Navigator App, and it’s also printed on your Key to the World card.
You can order an appetizer, salad, main and dessert with each meal, plus if you wanted to try more than one item you can! I had two lobster tails one nights, and two appetizers – the staff is happy to give you whatever you need.
Our wait staff was amazing- they were great with the kids, and our Head Server was from India and he even had the kitchen create a few of his favourite dishes from India at a couple of our dinners!
We had the early seating this time around which is 5:45pm. On our last cruise we had the later seating at 8:15pm, but we found that a bit too late the last time around.
There was always a restaurant open at lunch time for a sit-down meal, or on the go you could grab food at Cabanas (the ship’s Buffet) or one of the other quick serve restaurants on the ship.
What I love about Disney Cruise Line is there is no end to the activities offered. Every hour of the day there is a fun activity to join. You could fill your whole day with crafts, movies, and different activities for the whole family, or even just the adults.
There were plenty of tasting sessions for the adults, and the kids could either do activities on their own in the Oceaneer Lab, or they could stay with their parents and do an activity as a whole family.
Castaway Cay is a dream. It’s such a beautiful island, and the water is crystal clear. It really was the best day of our trip!
Booking with Air Canada Vacations really gave us so much peace of mind with the help of their Cruise Promise! They had so many guarantees included with our booking that totally made me relax and enjoy our trip.
Visit their website, or call them at 1-866-529-2079! One of their travel experts will be able to help you book your Disney Cruise Line adventure with ease!
Items in this post may have been provided to me for review, but all opinions are fabulously my own.